Updated: January 2013

39th Anniversary Fundraising Event (2010)

Celebrating Consumer Action at age 39

By Joe Orozco

Consumer Action's anniversary party in San Francisco was marked by spirited mingling among supporters and fellow advocates, whose generosity raised close to $50,000 for our financial empowerment activities.

The event, held in late June at the Parc 55 hotel in San Francisco, marked the 39th anniversary of Consumer Action's advocacy and education work.

As always, a highlight of the evening was the presentation of Consumer Action's Consumer Excellence Awards. This year's awardees were California Senator Ellen M. Corbett (D-San Leandro), KTSF Chinese News, and the Public Justice public interest law organization.

"It's been another banner year for Consumer Action," said Executive Director Ken McEldowney. "Our outreach team has forged new partnerships with community-based organizations, our DC office has been in the front ranks fighting for national privacy rights, health insurance rights and financial reform, and our administrators continue to keep our engine tuned for instant acceleration."

McEldowney thanked supporters for the funding that allows Consumer Action to create and distribute its quarterly newsletter and run its free, multilingual consumer assistance and referral hotline.

The Consumer Excellence Awards have been a tradition with Consumer Action for two decades, noted McEldowney.

"The mission of Consumer Action could not be fulfilled without the collaboration of key partners," he said. "This year's awardees represent media and advocacy organizations that have proven their commitment to important consumer issues in California and across the U.S."

Senator Ellen Corbett

The 2010 Consumer Excellence Award for Outstanding Advocacy was awarded to Senator Corbett, who throughout her legislative career has proven to be one of the strongest defenders of the rights of California's consumers. Last year, Senator Corbett put a priority on the passage of the Car Buyers Protection Act, which provided additional protections for people who purchase or trade in vehicles.

The Senator, a Democrat, is currently working on legislation to inform tenants of their rights during home foreclosures as well as to protect such tenants' rental histories. Corbett also leads efforts to protect children's privacy while using social networks. Other issues of concern to the Senator include consumer-friendly prescription labels, enforcing toxic toy safety laws, and the ability for consumers to get cash in exchange for gift cards with low balances.

"From banking to housing, product safety to healthcare, personal privacy and environmental protection, I have been so lucky to work on so many issues and so lucky to have been able to work with people like you," Senator Corbett told the crowd. "For almost 40 years, Consumer Action has led the fight to enact tough laws to protect people in all walks of life and has made sure that consumers know and exercise their rights."

KTSF Chinese News

In our media category, Consumer Action recognized KTSF, a widely viewed Chinese-language news station broadcasting in the San Francisco Bay Area. KTSF founder Lillian Lincoln Howell launched the station in 1976 with the mission of "serving the underserved." To reach this goal, KTSF hired experienced Chinese broadcast journalists to achieve the highest journalistic standards. Over the past two decades, the KTSF Chinese News has contributed to the community it serves with hard-hitting consumer news stories, such as its recent stories on selling personal jewelry, new credit card laws and Internet safety. KTSF coverage has helped Consumer Action reach consumers in the Chinese-American community and to help them become savvy consumers.

Rose Shirinian, KTSF news director, accepted the award. "KTSF serves the Bay Area's multicultural communities in over 12 different languages," said Shirinian. "But we can't do it without partners and we rely very much on the partnership we've had with Consumer Action for so many years."

"When we started the Cantonese news in 1989 and the Mandarin version in 1991, Consumer Action was there to help us in bringing vital information to our consumers and to our viewers," said Shirinian.

Public Justice

Public Justice was the recipient of our award in the area of Outstanding Community Service. Among other accomplishments, the dedicated public interest lawyers who work for the organization helped persuade the Supreme Court to reject a dangerous challenge to legal services for the poor, and it has prevented excessive secrecy in the court system. Its Mandatory Arbitration Abuse Prevention Project is a national leader in the battle against corporate efforts to use arbitration to eliminate court access. The honoree's litigation has exposed and stopped discrimination and unfair practices in the workplace on behalf of injured, low-wage women and minority workers.

Since 1982 Public Justice has fought for the rights of vulnerable consumers, earning its well-deserved reputation as the David against a Goliath who would close the courthouse doors on the disenfranchised.

Arthur Bryant, managing attorney, accepted the award on behalf of Public Justice. He began his speech by noting the involvement of Consumer Action and its employees in the precedent setting case, Ting v. AT&T, against binding mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer contracts. Darcy Ting, the lead plaintiff, is a former Consumer Action employee.

"We might have wanted to sue AT&T, but if we didn't have you and Darcy Ting and consumers who are actually affected and are willing to join the case, we could not have made a difference at all," said Bryant, mentioning the role of longtime Consumer Action supporter, attorney Jim Sturdevant, in bringing the case. "It is Consumer Action and groups like you that really make sure that these victories happen and that they have the kind of impact they need to have to protect consumers."

2010 Corporate Donors

Platinum Circle:
TracFone

Gold Circle:
Capital One

Silver Circle:
AT&T California | The Hastings Group | Humana | Microsoft | Union Bank | Vantagescore Solutions, LLC | Verizon

Benefactors:
Copy Copies, Inc.

Sponsors:
American Express | Consumer Attorneys Public Interest Foundation | Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca LLP | Jack Gillis, Certified Automotive Parts Association | Southern California Gas Company | The Sturdevant Law Firm

Friends:
Comcast | Consumer Federation of America | Credit.Com | CUNA Mutual Group |
Nexus Communications | Rufus L. Cole & Associates

2010 Individual and Community Donors

Silver Circle:
James S. Beck | Norman Bock | Neil Gendel

Benefactors:
Jim Conran, Consumers First | Marsha Cohen | Pastor Herrera, Jr. | Patricia Sturdevant

Sponsors:
Arnie Berghoff | Paul Bland, Public Justice | Trish Butler, Sage Communications | Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco | Linda F. Golodner | Dain Hansen | John Jensen

Friends:
Chris Bjorklund | Stephen J. Brobeck | Chinese Newcomers Service Center | Consumer Federation of California (CFC) | Gregory Fowler | Ellis & Jennifer Gans | John Geesman, GreenEnergyWar.Com | Sue C. Hestor | Irene Leech | Erwang Mao | Martin Mattes, Nossaman LLP | Ralph E. Stone | United Policyholders

Coalition Partners

Consumer Action works with many coalitions to leverage our impact. Here is a list of our coalition partners:

Americans for Fairness in Lending (AFFIL) | Americans for Financial Reform | California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) | Coalition for Patient Privacy | Consumer Federation of California (CFC) | Consumer Financial Protection Agency Coalition | Consumer-Labor Coalition | Credit Card Working Group | DC Advocates Coalition | Debt Relief Reform Working Group | Digital Due Process Coalition | EPIC Privacy Coalition | Fair Arbitration Now Coalition | Fake Check Working Group | Foreclosure Prevention Coalition | Fraud Alliance | Getting Older Adults Online (GOAL) | Health Care Reform Coalition (Families USA) | Identity Theft Prevention Coalition | Internet Privacy Working Group | Mortgage Coalition | Payday Loan Coalition | Small Dollar Loan Working Group | Subscriptions Upselling Working Group | Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue | Unemployed Homeowner Foreclosure Prevention Coalition

 

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